School calls for help Students from Bonn are stranded in Kabul

Bonn · Several students and adults from Bonn are still stranded in the Afghan capital Kabul. Three of the children go to the Carl Schurz School. The school is appealing for help and has contacted local politicians, members of the Bundestag and the European Parliament, and Chancellor Angela Merkel on behalf of several families.

 A U.S. soldier holds up a red sign reading "Gate closed" in Kabul.

A U.S. soldier holds up a red sign reading "Gate closed" in Kabul.

Foto: dpa/Wali Sabawoon

The dramatic events in the Afghan capital Kabul are currently a dominant topic, also with the German public. Thousands of people continue to hold out around the city's airport, while international forces have already completed some evacuations. The last evacuation plane of the Bundeswehr took off last Thursday, but many people are left behind, including German citizens who want to return home to Germany.

Families from Bonn are also among them, as well as numerous children, including three from Bonn's Carl Schurz School. The head of the school, Claudia Köse, and special education teacher Daniel Jakubik have made a dramatic appeal: "We fear for the well-being of our students and their families. The teachers report that more children are believed to be stranded in Kabul or other parts of Afghanistan with their relatives. "We know of a total of 13 children and at least three mothers," Jakubik said. Those in Bonn are hoping for the return of their families and loved ones.

Family wanted to return on August 16

One of them is Naqi A. (last name known to the editors), who has so far waited in vain to see his wife and three children again. "I was actually expecting them back on August 16," says the man in his mid-thirties. His wife and the three girls left on 1 August to visit his parents-in-law, who live in Kabul, "like a couple of times before. There were never any problems in the last few years."

That was about to change this time. In a firm voice, A. talks about a situation that could just as easily overwhelm anyone else because of its dramatic nature. "One day before my wife and children were about to take their booked return flights, the news came that the Taliban had captured Kabul." What followed were pictures from the city that went around the world. The airport was considered the last gateway to the world outside Afghanistan.

Futile attempts to get on passenger list

In Bonn, the father of three daughters aged one, eight and eleven, was suddenly faced with the question of when he would see his family again. "At first, of course, I hoped they would have a good chance at the airport because they have German passports." After several unsuccessful attempts to get on the waiting and passenger lists, that hope faded more and more. "They tried again and again, and my children were subjected to tremendous stress," reports A., who himself came to Germany as a refugee with his parents in 1998. "They are reasonably safe with my in-laws, I think. My wife keeps reassuring me. She tells me not to worry, that they won't go out again. But how can you not worry about your family in a situation like that?"

Naqi A. also recounts what his wife claims to have observed, "There's a lot of unrest there, my family has witnessed violence firsthand." For example, his wife told him that people had been injured in front of her in an explosion, "including people from Bonn". He himself knows of several families from Bonn, 25 to 30 people, who are also still holding out in Kabul. Details about the fate of other Bonn citizens in Kabul could not be learned on Friday, despite intensive GA research.

Serious accusations against the German government

The German passports of his wife and children were of no use to them, says the family father. When he thinks about the fact that Germany and several other nations have completed their evacuation flights, his composure gives way to anger and disappointment. He raises serious accusations against the German government and ministries - after all, his family has German passports, his children were born in Germany: "Why don't they do anything more for their countrymen now?"

Contact through phone calls and videos

Until now, Naqi A. has done everything possible from Bonn to support his wife and children. "I contacted the Foreign Office many times, and they kept saying: your family will get a code, they'll be on a list. Then at some point nothing came." He only knows how the girls and also his wife, who has lived in Germany for 20 years, currently feel from phone calls and videos. "The children are sad, they are afraid, they don't know the country as well as we adults do," he says.

All of them would have been happy to spend time with their grandparents. "For my in-laws, it was special to see the youngest one. I'm glad at least they didn't have to travel halfway across the country. But the situation is intense enough as it is." He sleeps poorly, eats little, he said. "You try to cope somehow. My parents and friends are here for me. If it weren't for the school, I wouldn't have much real support trying to get my family back."

Carl Schurz School stands up for families

In consultation with the parents of schoolchildren remaining in Afghanistan, the Carl-Schurz-Schule has knocked on many doors in recent days, both real and digital, to try to achieve something. From local politics to the Foreign Affairs Committee to the Chancellor's Office, the call from Tannenbusch for support is widespread.

The situation for Naqi A. and his family is uncertain. It is currently impossible to say how many Bonn residents are actually stranded in Kabul. The Afghan Consulate in Bonn and numerous other offices could not be reached for information on Friday. "If necessary, I'll fly there myself," Naqi A. said when asked what he planned to do next. "In any case, I'm not giving up hope." After all, he says, his eldest daughter should be going to secondary school soon. "And that's in Bonn."

(Original text: Alexander Barth and Christine Ludewig; translation John Chandler)

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